In every area of our lives, we make mistakes, and for many of us, we get caught belittling and demeaning ourselves internally for these perfect imperfections. Yet, being able to admit and accept them is part of the healing journey. So, in today's article, I will help you move from emotional misery to emotional mastery by helping you get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
We will go through the ‘3 R’s’ and the ‘3 C’s’ to help deal with the inner critic so that you can look back on memories you have where you feel emotional misery about how you handled something - i.e., your inner critic is telling you that you weren’t good enough, you were bad or broken - and start to see them for what they really were - perfectly imperfect moments in your life.
The 3 R’s
They are: remove, remedy, and recognize.
Remove the mantras. When we have an inner critic, we have specific mantras that we say to ourselves repeatedly - things like ‘What were you thinking?’ ‘Why did I do that?' These are self-shaming and victimizing mantras and phrases that we belittle ourselves with. These are things that we have learned from our parents - more so, they are usually things that your parents have said to you when growing up - ‘You’re smarter than that!’, ‘Don’t be stupid!’. Perhaps you’ve not been aware of these at all before, so if you have become entirely detached from this, then I recommend, for the next week, every time you make a mistake, pay attention to what you say to yourself and write down the phrase or mantra that runs through your mind. There will be around 3-5 that they use all the time for most. These mantras have become what they believe is their truth about themselves and how they are.
Remedy the problem. Once you’ve made your list of mantras, it’s time to give them back - to give the pain back - to your parents. Not because you want them to feel pain, but because it was never yours to carry. Spend some time thinking about which mantras you have created from an inner knowing. For example, I always knew my father would not be able to have an open and frank discussion with me, so, if I was upset, my mantra became ‘What’s the point?’
So when I find myself thinking, 'what's the point?' I give the pain back by saying something like, 'I love you, Dad. I know you were doing the best you could, but this is your pain, and I will not carry it for you anymore. I'm sad you were never taught or allowed to heal your pain, but this is not my responsibility. It is yours, so I give it back to you.'
Recognize yourself. Now that you’ve cleared away the emotional misery from the past, it’s time to replace it and bring in our authentic selves. The way we do this is by recognizing ourselves. I suggest creating a gratitude and accomplishment list - gratitude for everything great in your life AND everything about who you are. If you feel like there isn’t anything you like about yourself, here is a tip, even the act of undertaking this work, is commendable! Be grateful that you’re trying and add this to your list.
If you feel there is nothing to be grateful for, particularly about yourself, take a moment to pause. This is not true. That is a mantra you are using that needs to be given back. First, recognize this fact and give it back to whoever gave it to you. Then, ask, ‘If I was never to think or feel this mantra again, what would I recognize and be grateful for?’. Try listing 3 of these each day.
The 3 C’s
They are: confirm your with, connect with your abilities and clarity.
Confirm your worth. When we get shamed, we get sent a message that we do not have worth and that our needs and wants don’t matter. Make a list of your needs and wants, and think about the times you asked for your needs and wants but were rebuffed. Then, put a plan in place to give yourself these things and confirm your worth to yourself - whatever makes you feel worthy, do it.
Connect with your abilities. When a child is shamed or belittled, as well as suppressing their needs and wants, they also learn that it’s not ok to pursue their abilities - this is part of The Worst Day Cycle which causes us to suppress who we are to survive. Think back - can you remember when your parents shouted at you when you wanted their attention? When you expressed your needs and wants, your parents (indirectly) told you that if you have needs and wants and say them, you get yelled at. As such, you start to learn not to ask for your needs and wants, which leads to an inability to connect with your abilities.
So, now you have your gratitude and accomplishments written down and understand your needs and wants, you can start to put a plan in place to reconnect with yourself and your abilities. Pick one small thing you can do each day to reconnect with yourself, and you will start to understand your needs and wants more and more. This is all about taking small steps to begin re-loving yourself.
Clarity. Learn about The Worst Day Cycle - I write about it in my book ‘Your Journey to Success’ because we have to know what causes the inner critic, where it came from, why we have it and how to stop it and turn it around. This book will provide clarity on The Worst Day Cycle, and the only way to gain clarity is to gain knowledge! If you’re not sure about the book just yet, I have many videos on my YouTube channel that will help you understand more. In addition, my 5-part series, called ‘Reclaim Your Authentic Self by Becoming Trauma-Informed,’ will take you through aspects of The Worst Day Cycle and clarify the who, what, why, when, and how of the inner critic.
Ultimately, letting go of our inner critic is all about converting the emotional misery of the past into emotional mastery in the present. When we put a plan in place and become experts in doing it, we regain ourselves and our lives. If you are struggling to accomplish this and want to learn the entire process of emotional mastery, this will show you how.
Watch the Inner Critic video here:
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